China is taking big steps in space technology. Following the news that China would invest more on space missions, a representative from China reveals the country is planning an exploratory mission to Mars. It outlined its five-year plan to be a leader in space explorations, which includes the China Mars mission.
The China National Space Administration (its own version of NASA), divulged information about the China Mars mission. China is also scheduled to launch the Chang'e 5 to collect samples on moon's surface in 2017. It also revealed possible manned mission to the moon as well as an exploration of Jupiter and fly-by to other planets.
In a white paper released in Xinhua, the official press agency of the People's Republic of China, it was revealed that China intends to execute its first Mars exploration by 2020. The mission includes orbiting and roving exploration to bring back samples.
The year coincides with other Mars missions hosted by other countries. The European Space Agency and Russia are targets to launch the second phase of their Mars mission in 2020. Meanwhile, NASA is planning to send a rover to the red planet that year. Additionally, SpaceX also targets to do some sort of Mars mission also in 2020.
"Our overall goal is that, by around 2030, China will be among the major space powers of the world," Wu Yanhua, deputy chief of China's space agency said at a press conference on Tuesday, Dec. 27, according to China Daily. He added that China is also studying the possibility of sending its first man to the moon, however, there are no immediate plans yet.
China added that its space program is dedicated for peaceful processes to protect its national security. The congress previously banned NASA to work with China on space missions due to national concerns. If the China Mars mission becomes successful, China would be the second country to soft-land a probe on Mars. Previously, China successfully had a soft landing on the moon.